Paediatric Services Committee of the Health Department of New South Wales

Health Comission of New South Wales: Page Circular 82/60, 1 March 1982.

The Paediatric Services Committee of the Health Department of New South Wales has considered the practice of neonatal circumcision of male infants. The Committee points out that there is no valid medical indication for circumcision in the neonatal period. It acknowledged the social and religious reasons. The hazards of neonatal circumcision may have been understated in the past. The chief risk is sepsis, usually Staphylococcal but sometimes involving other organisms. In a hospital, cross-infection may of course impose risks to infants other than the circumcised. Other major complications such as haemorrhage or surgical trauma to the penis are less common. Boy circumcised at any time until they are out of napkins are at risk of meatal ulceration and consequent meatal stenosis. The Committee recommends that infants should not be circumcised under the age of four weeks; preferably, if the procedure is to be performed, it should be deferred until the child is over one year of age. The Committee also recommends that hospital should not permit neonatal circumcision to be performed on hospitalised infants. Should a hospital elect to permit the operation, it would of course be essential for the parents give informed consent, i.e. after being told the nature, effects, advantages, disadvantages, and risks.

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